Story: Kauri gum and gum digging

Washing plant

Washing plant

Hand washing of soil that contained gum gave way to machines in the early 1900s. These men are standing around an oil-driven tub washing plant. The tubs were enlarged versions of the hand-washing tubs called hurdy-gurdies. They had steel paddles instead of wooden ones and could handle much larger amounts of soil. Typically, teams of four to eight men operated the plants, which they dragged around the gumlands on skids.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Northwood Collection (PA-Group-00027)
Reference: 1/1-011240; G
Photograph by Arthur James Northwood

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Kauri gum and gum digging - Gum digging methods', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 October 2021)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 24 Sep 2007